I started the day with a bit of a medical adventure. For the past four days, my husband Gary has been in some of the worst pain (and subsequently, some of the worst depression) I have ever seen him in. His doctor has not been managing his pain properly, partly because new laws prevent him from doing so, but also partly because his doctor doesn't seemingly give enough of a shit to think outside the box on this.
For those who hadn't read the backstory, Gary suffers from reflex sympathetic dystrophy (incurable, which causes severe pain in his left leg; he has a spinal cord stimulator to address much of the pain). How severe? Take your leg. Liberally pour gasoline on it. Light it with a match. Now imagine it being on fire and never going out.
Recently, Gary started experiencing severe pain and numbness in his left arm; he went to the ER for a pain shot (which he has to do every so often) but because the pain was radiating into his chest, the ER was afraid he was having a heart attack and sent him to the hospital, which kept him for 24 hours and released him with a new prescription. Which, unbeknownst to Gary, was a controlled substance, and Gary having the script put him in violation of his pain management agreement and he got red flagged and his doctor subsequently withheld pain medication refills because of legal reasons.
After the hospital visit, Gary went to see a specialist, who determined that he's got a bone spur in his neck vertebrae that is compressing nerves and is causing his pain and numbness in his arm; he needs surgery for that. We've been trying to get that scheduled before I lose my insurance.
But in the meantime, because of the lack of proper medication, Gary's pain has gotten unbearable and he's been suicidally depressed as a result. Because that's what unbearable pain does to a person. For the past four days he's sat huddled on the couch under a blanket staring at the floor because any movement made things worse and there was too much pain to sleep. That is not being properly alive. That is hell.
I read Gary's regular doctor the riot act through the MyChart system, and called the practice first thing this morning, and another doctor was able to see him.
We told her what was going on, and she said "There's nothing I can do," and I broke down sobbing there in the exam room.
After I regained my composure, we discussed the situation some more and there was something she could do: prescribe him gabapentin, which he was on years ago and had stopped taking because it stopped working, but some research indicates that trying such drugs again after a break can result in them working well again. Apparently it, too, is going to become a controlled substance in January, but it isn't one yet.
The gabapentin helped a great deal. Which is good. He got sleep. I got sleep. But in January we're gonna have to play this awful game of Simon Says again.
In the meantime, the war on drugs, which has turned into a war on sick people, can suck my ass.